Monday, May 4, 2009

Navigating Our Lives, Our Economy, Our World with the Cellphone,

The cellphone has been a basic tool of micro-enterprise in numerous countries for sometime now. On a local level, it provides a relatively cheap means of communication, organization and control. Now it is beginning to create a new paradigm on a global scale. Two articles, again from the New York Times, provide a contrast between the potential of world connection and the realities of global markets, one although abstract is becoming a reality, the other a reality could change how we think about doing business.

SCIENCE | February 17, 2009 The Cellphone, Navigating Our Lives By JOHN MARKOFF
Cellphones have changed how we communicate with others, and now they are changing how we think about information.

The cellphone is the world’s most ubiquitous computer. The four billion cellphones in use around the globe carry personal information, provide access to the Web and are being used more and more to navigate the real world. And as cellphones change how we live, computer scientists say, they are also changing how we think about information.

With the dominance of the cellphone, a new metaphor is emerging for how we organize, find and use information. New in one sense, that is. It is also as ancient as humanity itself. That metaphor is the map. “The map underlies man’s ability to perceive,” said Richard Saul Wurman, a graphic designer who was a pioneer in the use of maps as a generalized way to search for information of all kinds before the emergence of the online world.
TECHNOLOGY | April 28, 2009 In China, Knockoff Cellphones Are a Hit By DAVID BARBOZA
An industry building look-alike mobile phones for as little as $35 is tickling China's pride in rebellious creativity.
“Five years ago, there were no counterfeit phones,” says Xiong Ting, a sales manager at Triquint Semiconductor, a maker of mobile phone parts, while visiting Shenzhen. “You needed a design house. You needed software guys. You needed hardware design. But now, a company with five guys can do it. Within 100 miles of here, you can find all your suppliers.”

Even Chinese mobile phone producers are losing market share to underground companies, which have a built-in cost advantage because they evade taxes, regulatory fees and safety checks.

There are environmental dangers posed by this black market technology, but their is also a sense of backroom disruptive innovation going on as well.

Some experts say they believe the shanzhai phenomena is about being creative, Chinese style.

“Chinese grass-roots companies are actually very innovative,” says Yu Zhou, a professor at Vassar College. “It’s not so much technology as how they form supply chains and how rapidly they react to new trends.”
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Being There, Being Everywhere, Being Where It Counts

Social media is a the same time both very personal and global in its reach. It provides an opportunity to reach millions, but can connect one-on-one regarding the challenges we face in the world. The two articles below demonstrate the span of influence of this medium, from the poetic to the political. The potential of this medium has not been even glimpsed to my mind. The financial potential is only the tip of the iceberg.

MAGAZINE | February 15, 2009 The Medium: Being There By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN The subtle art of the Facebook update.

“Unlike ALL other walks of life, status updates are the appropriate places for spontaneous bursts of joy and being. You shouldn’t do it at work, you shouldn’t do it in the middle of a conversation, you shouldn’t do it on the street, you shouldn’t turn to a stranger on the bus, you shouldn’t leave it on someone’s cellphone. But on this grand constantly updating Christmas card that we are all free to access or withdraw from at any time, we FINALLY have a polite space for ‘My sponge smells like a hot dog.’ ”
MAGAZINE | January 25, 2009 Revolution, Facebook-Style
As the street protests went on, young Egyptians also were mobilizing and venting their anger over Gaza on what would, until recently, have seemed an unlikely venue: Facebook, the social-networking site. In most countries in the Arab world, Facebook is now one of the 10 most-visited Web sites, and in Egypt it ranks third, after Google and Yahoo. About one in nine Egyptians has Internet access, and around 9 percent of that group are on Facebook — a total of almost 800,000 members.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Boao Focusing on the Financial Crisis from an Asian Perspective

Although I have a strong tendency to use the New York Times for inspiration for posts, I do read other online newspapers including the China Daily. Although it can be just as or even more slanted it provides a perspective, different from Western journalism, of a rising major economic power. Most of the attention in the West has been on Davos, but Asia has its own economic summit. Both are facing the same issue articulated by the World Bank: Economic crisis turning into calamity.

Boao conference begins with focus on financial crisis

The Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2009 officially opened in Boao, Hainan Province Saturday, focusing on the role of Asian countries amid the global financial crisis.

Here are some other articles featured in the China Daily Wen: Stimulus Package Paying Off $10B ASEAN Fund Banker: IMF Needs Improvement